W8O/SW-012 Hamilton County HP (294m)

I was in Cincinnati, Ohio on Christmas Eve’s Eve and decided to get in one more SOTA activation in Ohio. Even though Cincinnati itself is quite hilly, nearly the entire state north of the city was pressed flat by large glaciers during the last ice age. As a result, the majority of Ohio does not have much in the way of dramatic topography. In spite of these crushing efforts, the high point of Hamilton County is still about 12 km north of downtown Cincinnati near the neighborhood of Mount Airy, and is worth one activator point.

There are a number of radio antennas that take advantage of the region’s prominence, many of which are seated on top of a castlelike pair of water tanks nearby. A church parking lot next to the water pumping facility was within the activation zone, so I tossed a wire up into a nearby tree to get started on the most urban of my SOTA shenanigans.

This parking lot is near a busy street, so it should have been no surprise that a couple of people walking by were suspicious of the guy huddled in the grass with a wire in a tree sketching gibberish on a yellow notepad. I made sure to explain that nothing nefarious was going on here – just some good old-fashioned amateur radio. They seemed impressed that I managed to contact stations in California, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, and Florida.

This was a fast activation for me. The required four QSOs were finished within the first five minutes on the air. Thanks to the chasers (and some of the usual suspects) who put up with my rushed QRP CW!



W8O/CT-001 Campbell Hill (472m) and Concrete

Today, I activated Campbell Hill (4 points), which at 1550 feet (472m) above sea level, is the most elevated place in Ohio. The broad, sloping hill has such a shallow slope that its prominence is not immediately obvious. There is a plaque there that assures you that you are standing at the highest point in the state.

The approach to the summit was an easy drive through the campus of the aptly-named Ohio Hi-Point Career Center. The summit site had some convenient benches, but they were covered in a sheath of ice about 2 millimeters thick. I used an end-fed tossed into a nearby pine tree which worked well enough. Chasers came from CO, AZ, and FL- not bad for 2.5W! When the QSOs slowed down, I decided to pack up because the temperature was just below freezing.

Thanks to all the chasers! Special thanks to W7RV and K6HPX who have now chased me 3 times each.


There’s a nearby point of interest for civil engineering history buffs: Bellefontaine, Ohio is the home of Court Avenue, which has the distinction of being, circa 1891, the first street in the US paved by concrete. There’s a concrete statue of George Bartholemew, the pioneer who convinced city hall to let him pave the road to prove the virtues of “artificial stone.” He posted a $5000 bond to ensure that the road would last for at least five years. The experiment succeeded magnificently – portions of the original pavement still persist to this day.